Be Festival

AE Harris Security Devices

AE Harris Security Devices
Visual Arts project by Federico Sancho
Taking place across AE Harris and MAC, AE Harris Security Devices is an installation by Federico Sancho (Spain) – awarded BE FESTIVAL’s European Visual Arts Residency 2011-12 – in partnership with Mikel Nieto and Maria Bobes. Federico has also collaborated with BE Mix, influencing and provoking their work, and taking inspiration from their performative approach. BE Mix performance and Federico’s project are presented symbiotically – one could not exist without the other.

A statement from the artist:
The venue that hosts the festival used to host the manufacturing and assembling chains of a metalwork factory, founded more than a century ago in Birmingham. After a profound modernisation carried out by the company due to changing economic forces, the building became an independent arts venue.

The AE Harris company continues its industrial activity in the new buildings across the street. While workers carry out their daily duties, BE takes place at the same time, drawing a cultural community from all over Europe. The industrial activity continues regardless, respecting its own limits and those of the cultural activity across the street.

AE Harris Security Devices arises in this fertile paradox, this reality that unites and separates these evolving zones. The project is an attempt to critically explore the potential of such different activities co-existing. We aim to manufacture a link between the two factories by generating an archive of both buildings’ activities.

The project also aims to analyse the processes of control and security which we accept on a daily basis, and in an almost mechanical or automatic way. The objective of such analysis is to replace discipline and control with humour and irony. Working with BE Mix, we suggest an appropriation of these mechanisms of control in order to transform them and create new situations in participation with the audience.

And who says all this can’t take place in a factory? Factories are a reflection of our evolution. As Walter Benjamin said to Eugene Buret: “The most fantastic creations of the kingdom of fairies are about to be made before our eyes; each day, our factories produce wonders as incredible as those produced by Dr. Faust with his magic book.”

Our project consists of four parts:

  1. Action
    A performative intervention will occur at AE Harris.
  2. Memory
    We will record the memories of the factory and its workers through interviews and field work. During the festival, memories will be presented at MAC.
  3. Archive
    A collection of special edition books will be published, and a CD of sound recordings.
  4. Boundaries
    We will locate the security devices that emit orders to those following the protocols of BE FESTIVAL and MAC. We will transform their meaning through interaction with the audience and the installation of alternative security devices.

Supported by

back to festival programme